Monday, March 1, 2010

Facebook Fan of the Month: Virgilio from Kansas City - March 2010

Okay - Big Blue's Facebook fan page has over 500 people. I've gotten to know some people there and wanted to take the chance to feature some fans and their buses. So this month begins a new feature at - Facebook Fan of the Month.

This month, we catch up with Virgilio from Kansas City. He took the time to introduce himself, his love for VWs and share some pictures of his bus...

1. What town are you in?
I live in Kansas City - actually a suburb in Kansas on the South side along 435 so if your rolling thru drop me a line.

2. What year bus do you have? Does it have a name?
I currently have a 1967 SO-42 Westphalia camper. Its been referred to as a "67 Westy, The Avocate (Avocado but in Spanish) the green machine and of course "The Bus". Its my 4th bus. Along the way I started with a 76 Type 2, then a 72 camper, a 66 Westy (rust bucket) and finally this bus.

3. How did you get interested in VW buses?
Back in the early 90's, I became fascinated with buses and VWs while doing a summer internship down in Mexico. I was amazed at how many were rolling around down there and how many different modifications were being made. The craziest memory was climbing into a bus/taxi crammed with people and peering over cliffs in the mountains. Had I known then what I know know, I'm not sure I would have hopped on the bus but I'm glad I did. Of course when I got back to the states - Jerry was getting better after recovering from a diabetic coma and I would talk to heads about their buses. It didn't take long after that I had my 1st bus. Bought it for $300 bucks some books, bottles of wine and some home made jewelry. Drove it around Northern Michigan for the better part of a spring early summer until the gas tank rusted out, motor seized, floor boards holed out - I had no idea what I was doing but it was fun. You learn as you go along. I kept the idiots guide and found my next home and next bus in Kansas City.

4. What makes your bus special?
What makes my bus special? Kids and I camp in it and cruise around in it. My son at the tender age of 4 or 5 was playing around in it when suddenly he hit the shifter and the bus began rolling down the driveway. I ran after it but it had me by 3 good rolls of the tires. At the base of the driveway across the street was a large oak tree. A split decision made by forces beyond me had me reach in "Crank" the wheel as the bus turned in the street avoiding the tree! 1st miracle? Another time my daughter and dog are in the back of the bus while Im driving home. Unbeknowest to me, the kids had been playing in the bus and had popped the latch downs to the Pop-top. Cruising down the highway with a 20 mph crosswind the pop-top - Popped! It torn off and sailed 3 lanes across the highway. I trottled down, downshifted and acessed the damage while pulling over. Besides my daughter crying and the dog nearly pooping in the bus all was fine. My canvas was attacted but the shell was gone. I retrieved it the next day for the hardware. It was all torn up. Imagine seeing that in the air flying at you. "Never get behind a bus" (love that sticker). 2nd miracle? Guess I should name the bus "Miracle" A 3rd miracle was a time I was driving with the kids along stateline road.Typical 4 lane busy road with a suicide lane in the middle. Kids were eatting some candies and sharing them with me while I drove. They kept trying to hand me the whole bag and I told them to please hand me just a piece or 2 since I was driving. Just as quick as I turned to say that and look over my shoulder did I turn back and see that the 3 cars in front of me had come to a dead stop! I was doing 45 mph in the left lane and had red lights about 75-50 yards in front of me. I threw it into 3rd and swayed the hurtling bus into the suicide lane. I prayed that the car that had its left turn signal on wouldnt turn. I held my breath as we passed an old couple in a small sedan. My defense driving classes must have kicked in cause I recall looking down and seeing the speedo had hit 60 mph. I escaped a nasty wreck. It was another miracle.

Finally to Glenn O'Gorman. My last major repair was a full tranny rebuild. Glenn was a long time bus guy here in the KC area who worked as a head tech at a Mini Cooper dealership. While we worked under the bus we would go over bus stories, life stories and dreams of the future. Glenn went to the hospital one day complaining of a migraine. He never came out. Glenn died at the age of 27. I miss him. VW buses miss him and I know that he rides with me everytime I'm in my bus.

I think all of our buses are miracle machines. Way too many mentions of break downs, road side repairs, camping storms seeking shelter in the bus etc... God bless Bus!

5. If you could have one more vintage VW, what would it be?
One more bus? Okay then, make it a bus with a bunch of windows and a hole in the roof covered with canvas!



Hey Virgilio, interesting stuff. I've got a '74 Westy out here in Olathe. I've been trying to find a mechanic here in KC that knows old buses to take a look at it ... any suggestions?? Steve


I love the stories! Fun new bbvw feature.



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